The Wrap: Red-hot Riders extend lead at the top, Sharks into Trophy Final

Posted on BBL Media

Leicester Riders have extended their lead at the top of the BBL Championship after recording two victories on the road at the weekend.

Rob Paternostro's side moved to 19-2, despite Andy Thomson, Pierre Hampton and TrayVonn Wright (Sunday) sidelined through injury with Tyler Bernardini stepping up with a combined 65 points.

Riders came through a double overtime thriller away at DBL Sharks Sheffield on Friday night with Bernardini scoring 34 in the 92-98 success before they followed up with a 73-86 win against Cheshire Phoenix two days later.

"It has been a tremendous weekend for us," declared Rob Paternostro. "We knew we were going to be down guys on Friday and then coming in to Cheshire, we knew that we're then down three but throughout the whole weekend our guys believed.

"We have a roster full of players that are just waiting for their opportunity and I thought a number of them really took their opportunity well this weekend.

"Tyler Bernardini had an incredible weekend. On both nights he shot the ball incredible well to finish with 30 point games back-to-back. Our defence in key moments, on Friday and especially [Sunday] was fantastic."

Sheffield's loss to Leicester came in between their two-legged Semi-Final with Worcester Wolves. After a dramatic 86-86 draw on Wednesday, the Sharks came out on top with a 75-66 home victory to seal their place in the Final.

Chris Alexander led the way with a 30-point haul to secure an overall 151-142 triumph as they now await Leicester or London Lions in next month's showpiece event at the Emirates Arena.

Cheshire inflicted yet another home loss on Esh Group Eagles Newcastle as they recorded a convincing 83-100 success behind 26 points from Malcolm Riley.

Glasgow Rocks remain third in the standings after splitting their weekend double-header in the South-West. The Rocks fell to an 80-76 loss at Bristol Flyers on Saturday before bouncing back with a comfortable 63-86 win over Plymouth Raiders the next day.

On Friday night, Manchester Giants picked up their third win of the season as they eased to a 94-62 home win against Leeds Force to claim the season head-to-head.

Worcester moved into the top four in the league with an 85-97 victory on the road against London on Friday with Trayvon Palmer leading the way with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists.

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